May 2024

New publication: Mapping Circular Urban Economy Cases – A Method Toolbox for Data Collection and Visualization

This report outlines the data collection process and database creation of best practice cases in circular urban economy in Europe, led by Sweco. It also includes an analysis of cases and stakeholders involved in urban circular economy, and recommendations for DUT.

About the publication

While circularity is often interpreted in terms of reuse of materials, including recycling or upcycling to reduce material flows, the understanding of circular urban economy in the DUT context includes this, but is also much broader. Besides acknowledging technological advances and updated business models as important to achieve increased circularity, it also wants to connect the circular economy to social issues that are pertinent throughout cities today. Such issues for example include socio-economic inequalities, decreased social cohesion and an unequal access to urban resources, services and green areas. Thus, circularity is not a goal in itself, but a tool that can be used to achieve improved urban livability.

Sweco led the data collection of circular urban economy cases where DUT could test and refine the database by providing feedback during the process. This helped DUT to define the system boundary that enables resource sharing and to understand the scale at which a best practice case is developed. It can also help to identify relevant stakeholders who can benefit from the value being created.

The results have been transformed into a framework that not only serves as a way to cluster and label the collected cases, but also provides a holistic framework to define the circular urban economy and is structured based on the four impact values defined below:

1. Systemic innovation in resource efficiency and reduced waste
2. Spatial innovation and regenerative urbanism
3. Process innovation and social benefits in a circular urban economy
4. Other complementary transversal dimensions


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